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lamberts-lost-tooth
10-21-2008, 05:08 AM
Linebackers inflate Steelers' sack total
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When LaMarr Woodley sacks a quarterback, it is not uncommon for him to seek out James Harrison and hold his hands a couple of inches apart. After Harrison has recorded a sack, he will turn to find Woodley and hold his hands considerably farther apart.

"Widening the gap," Woodley said with a knowing smile when asked about the Harrison gesture.

The Steelers' outside linebackers are staging a competition that is anything but friendly for quarterbacks. Opposing signal-callers find themselves caught in the middle of a "Can you top this?" game.

The Steelers already have 25 sacks and are on pace to drop the quarterback 67 times this season. That number is considerably higher than the team-record 55 sacks the Steelers recorded in 1994 and 2001. It is also almost double the number of sacks (36) the Steelers had last season.

That the Steelers are sacking quarterbacks at an unprecedented rate starts with Harrison and Woodley trying to outdo each other.

"The biggest competition is in your backyard, and that's how they approach it," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "They drive each other, and that's awesome."

They probably drive opposing offensive coordinators batty. Harrison and Woodley rush from opposite sides of the field, and double-teaming one is tantamount to unleashing the other, if their production through six games is any indication.

Harrison is tied for first in the AFC with 8.5 sacks, and Woodley is right behind with 7.5. Both are on track to break the Steelers' single-season sack record of 15, set by Mike Merriweather in 1984.

"I don't think I've really seen anyone block them yet," Steelers linebacker and defensive captain James Farrior said.

How dominant have the bookend pass rushers been? Woodley sacked quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick twice in the Steelers' 38-10 win over the Bengals Sunday and did nothing to close the gap on Harrison.

Harrison spent much of the afternoon in Fitzpatrick's face,. Bengals left tackle Levi Jones, a former first-round draft pick, proved to be no match for Harrison, who made the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

Jones may have fared better trying to wrestle a bear than in holding off Harrison, which would make him a member of a club that is growing by the week. Powerful and relentless, Harrison has the kind of drive that reflects the circuitous route the 6-foot, 242-pounder took to one of the glamour positions on the Steelers' defense.

If Harrison, who was cut three times before sticking with the Steelers, is a handful, Woodley is no bargain on the left side of the defense.

Woodley recorded six sacks last season despite limited action as a rookie, and the 6-2, 265-pounder is proving that he can get to the quarterback with the same alarming efficiency as an every-down player.

"I'm feeding off Woodley, Woodley's feeding off me," said Harrison, who took over at right outside linebacker for Joey Porter last season and made the Pro Bowl. "It's a little bit of a competition there to see who can get the most sacks."

A welcome by-product for the Steelers: Harrison and Woodley are creating opportunities for other players.

Lawrence Timmons joined Harrison and Woodley in notching a pair of sacks in Cincinnati, and Farrior had one. The two inside linebackers were able to come up the middle to sack Fitzpatrick, in part, because the Bengals were so conscious of the havoc Harrison and Woodley were creating on the flanks.

"There's times I sit there and just shake my head," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said of the Steelers' pass rush.

Indeed, the sign Woodley and Harrison make to one another after a sack also could serve as a warning to opposing quarterbacks. The one who didn't get to the quarterback is coming that much harder on the next play and the ones that follow.

"The more (sacks) James gets, the more I try to stay close to him," Woodley said. "Who knows? At the end of the season it may be a lot."

It already is.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_594285.html

The Duke
10-21-2008, 07:11 AM
I love it it, poor quarterbacks are trapped in their little game

one gets a sack, the other one wants one twice as hard. whatever it takes, just keep bringng the heat on qbs :tt02:


"There's times I sit there and just shake my head," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said of the Steelers' pass rush.

and this is a guy who knows about getting sacked. just be thankful they are on your team ben, lol

Texasteel
10-21-2008, 07:16 AM
It sound like they love playing together.
This is going to be some year.

GBMelBlount
10-21-2008, 07:49 AM
This may be the difference between our defense last year and this year. Statistically the defenses are similar to this point but these guys are REALLY getting to the QB's this year. Offenses have to specifically plan for this...... I couldn't be much more excited.

HometownGal
10-21-2008, 08:29 AM
The Steelers have an outstanding LB corps who are very exciting to watch (not so exciting from the opposing QB's angle on his hiney) and give 150% each and every game. It's great to see them feeding off each other and each of them striving to be the best they can be. Papa Lebeau must be jumping for joy! :thumbsup:

Next victim on the menu:

http://www.naturalnews.com/gallery/Articles/Eli_Manning.jpg

:tt02::tt03::tt02:

tony hipchest
10-21-2008, 09:00 AM
i bet theres a weekly phone call between joey poster and some of the guys. he wants to play too, and is getting in on this little competition. as happy as i am for our team, im glad to see porter doing well too. way to represent steelers football in miami! :tt02:

SteelersMongol
10-21-2008, 09:24 AM
Great read. What could be more exciting than this?

LVSteelersfan
10-21-2008, 11:26 AM
WOO HOO !!!!!!!!! GO LINEBACKER U !!!!!!!! Imagine if all 4 of them got two sacks a game. We shall see what happens when we hit the meat of the schedule this year. I hope to see Matt Cassell hit the deck at least 9 or 10 times. The cool thing is we don't have to send safety blitzes in and we still get to the QB consistently. These guys are scary good.

steelpride12
10-21-2008, 11:57 AM
Great to see them working together, and lovin what there doing.
Eli best wear extra padding!

stlrtruck
10-21-2008, 12:05 PM
The Steelers have an outstanding LB corps who are very exciting to watch (not so exciting from the opposing QB's angle on his hiney) and give 150% each and every game. It's great to see them feeding off each other and each of them striving to be the best they can be. Papa Lebeau must be jumping for joy! :thumbsup:

Next victim on the menu:

http://www.naturalnews.com/gallery/Articles/Eli_Manning.jpg

:tt02::tt03::tt02:

Don't hit him too hard boys, the commish is just waiting to hand out fines for hitting too hard. Especially when it comes to players with the last name of Manning.

Edman
10-21-2008, 12:07 PM
When your two outside 3-4 Linebackers have a competitive sack contest, you know your Pass Rush is paying dividends.

Silverback looks as fearsome as ever. And Woodley's training with Kevin Greene over the offseason is paying off.

Steelerstrength
10-21-2008, 12:40 PM
I'm always looking for Wood or Silverback to sack the Q-biatch on every pass play. Silverback comes so damn close on multiple bull-rushing scenarios, I'm yelling my ass off! How many times do you see Silverback push his man right into the Qb?! This season has been one of the greatest in terms of anticipatory and expectant sacks! :helmet:

Pardon the sexism, but Elise Girling is next! I say 4 sacks for the game. 1 each by Wood & Silverback.

What say you?

Steeldude
10-21-2008, 05:39 PM
and all the steelers' fans who said i was stupid for saying harrison would be an excellent LB, are hiding. :couch:

where did all those fans go that said harrison is strictly a backup? and that if he was any good he wouldn't have been cut so many times.

the steelers took way too long in implanting harrison into the starting lineup.

tony hipchest
10-21-2008, 05:42 PM
and all the steelers' fans who said i was stupid for saying harrison would be an excellent LB, are hiding. :couch:

where did all those fans go that said harrison is strictly a backup? and that if he was any good he wouldn't have been cut so many times.

the steelers took way too long in implanting harrison into the starting lineup.

wow. did people actually say that? didnt you also say joey porter was washed up? he's doing pretty good himself down in MIA.

tony hipchest
10-21-2008, 05:45 PM
I'm always looking for Wood or Silverback to sack the Q-biatch on every pass play. Silverback comes so damn close on multiple bull-rushing scenarios, I'm yelling my ass off! How many times do you see Silverback push his man right into the Qb?! This season has been one of the greatest in terms of anticipatory and expectant sacks! :helmet:

Pardon the sexism, but Elise Girling is next! I say 4 sacks for the game. 1 each by Wood & Silverback.

What say you?i say levi jones woulda prefered another beatdown in a las vegas casino from joey porter as opposed to the one he took from harrison on the field last sunday.

i say 5 sacks (although NY's line is tougher, i think we may unveil some unorthadox schemes). maybe ike taylor gets one as timmons takes plex in coverage? :noidea:

fansince'76
10-21-2008, 05:48 PM
where did all those fans go that said harrison is strictly a backup? and that if he was any good he wouldn't have been cut so many times.

wow. did people actually say that?

In so many words, yes.

http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?p=245207#post245207

I could probably find a bunch more busting on him during the offseason between '06 and '07, but this is as good an example as any.

Preacher
10-21-2008, 07:18 PM
Interesting read there FS...

Kinda funny how strong opinions can be so far off...


However, I noticed this post of mine... and now that we see how LeBeau is running his defense... Is this now an actual possibility??

OR...

We back out of the 3-4 and run a 2-5... With Aaron and Casey on the line.

Then, we drop 3 into coverage and rush two from wherever... or drop 4 into coverage and bring in Troy...

No.. it will NEVER happen.. I am just having fun here, but it would be fun to see!!:sofunny:

tony hipchest
10-21-2008, 08:03 PM
In so many words, yes.

http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?p=245207#post245207

I could probably find a bunch more busting on him during the offseason between '06 and '07, but this is as good an example as any.
:rofl: good call steeldude. i had totally erased that bogus diatribe from my memory banks.

WWIIOwheelz
10-21-2008, 11:30 PM
I'm positively giddy about it. :) Thanks for posting the article..... I've already copied & pasted into a few posts at the other forums where I've been singing the same tune since training camp!

:tt03:

Hines0wnz
10-22-2008, 12:20 AM
Its nice to have a consistent pass rush week in and week out. It was so anemic last year and this year it's a feast! :tt02:

Steelman16
10-22-2008, 01:44 AM
In so many words, yes.

http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?p=245207#post245207

I could probably find a bunch more busting on him during the offseason between '06 and '07, but this is as good an example as any.

No, no, we don't want to live in the past.

:toofunny:

Avoid LLoyd1975
10-22-2008, 10:03 PM
Anybody got any predictions by seasons end?

WWIIOwheelz
10-22-2008, 10:31 PM
Anybody got any predictions by seasons end?

Heh..... we wouldn't want to jinx them!

No kidding, though, and I hate to sound like a broken record, but something told me Lamar Woodley was going to be the perfect piece of the pass rush puzzle this year, the perfect compliment to Harrison. I went a bit further in the preseason by saying that Timmons would emerge as a huge threat in large part to the schemes against the above, but Farrior and Smith are also. I still think Labeau is holding his middle blitzing cards until late in the season, but I suppose only time will tell.

How far can they go? I think Greene and Lloyd's numbers are in serious trouble if everyone stays healthy (or off the suspended list..... it might only be a matter of time before Goodell fines for normal sacks.)

I love what I'm seeing more than just about any other facet of the Steelers game.

lilyoder6
10-22-2008, 10:41 PM
i mean harrison being 2nd and woodly be 4th in the league in sacks is very very nice... our def is getting to the qb from all angles.. and it seems that none of the off can stop it.. just keep up the good work

Galax Steeler
10-23-2008, 03:57 AM
I would love to see them 1 and 2 at the end of the season and both in the pro bowl the way they are going it could happen I also think we need to get Timmons in the mix more then he is he could have a good sack count by the end of the year also.

#1LambertFan
10-23-2008, 06:43 PM
and all the steelers' fans who said i was stupid for saying harrison would be an excellent LB, are hiding. :couch:

where did all those fans go that said harrison is strictly a backup? and that if he was any good he wouldn't have been cut so many times.

the steelers took way too long in implanting harrison into the starting lineup.

After seeing him hurdle Tomlinson in 2004 I was sold. Got the Jersey after last years Ravens game.... You know which one!

Oh Galax Steeler, Just think of a 1-2-3 finish. I would probably cheer until my eyes pop out of my head!

#1LambertFan
10-23-2008, 06:47 PM
i say levi jones woulda prefered another beatdown in a las vegas casino from joey porter as opposed to the one he took from harrison on the field last sunday.

i say 5 sacks (although NY's line is tougher, i think we may unveil some unorthadox schemes). maybe ike taylor gets one as timmons takes plex in coverage? :noidea:

That's what I love about the Steelers defense. THE LINEBACKERS! You can send the RILB to cover a great receiver. They are athletic enough to cover some of the best and strong enough to take down the best of RB's and don't get me started on their pass rushing skills. I'm not going to predict a number of sacks because I didn't against the Bengals...Enough Said!